After a dominant display last weekend at the Quinnipiac Invite, UConn will return to its home court to take on Bryant University, Wesleyan University and Sacred Heart University. The invite starts on Friday, Sept. 15 and ends on Sunday, Sept.17.
Prior to 2022, UConn women’s tennis had never lost to Bryant. The Huskies were 6-0 through six matches since 2009, but that all changed last March when they traveled to Smithfield, Rhode Island and were defeated by the Bulldogs. Connecticut will be looking to avenge their loss, but Bryant will have a say in that. Junior Caitlyn Munson led the Bulldogs in overall singles wins last season with 11 and will be ready to add to her win tally for the new season. A big loss for Bryant is Camila Baeza, who played three years of tennis at Bryant and tied Caitlyn Munson last season at 11 singles wins. On top of that, Baeza also led the team in doubles wins with Manuela Estrada, who also graduated. The Bulldogs have some big shoes to fill, but with Munson on the roster, they’ll be in contention to get their second win in a row against the Huskies.
Last year at the UConn Invite, the Huskies were able to take care of business against Wesleyan. UConn finished singles play with a 5-2 record and swept the doubles matches, going 3-0. This year, the Cardinals are returning four of their seven players who reached double digit singles wins a season ago. The most notable of those four is junior Renna Mohsen-Breen, who led the team with 19 total singles wins and only one loss in her sophomore season. She’ll be returning along with sophomore Sarah Youngberg who, as a first-year student, finished last season tied for the second most singles wins on the team with 18. Together, Mohsen-Breen and Youngberg also lead the team in total doubles wins last season with a 19-1 record. With that dynamic duo coming around this weekend, UConn will certainly have its hands full.
UConn’s all-time record against Sacred Heart was knotted at 1-1 for 10 years until 2021. The two hadn’t played since 2011, but when the Pioneers came up to Storrs two years ago, the Huskies sent them packing with a resounding 7-0 victory. Since then, they’ve played two more times, splitting the pair of games, leaving the all-time record at three wins for Connecticut and two for Sacred Heart. In the most recent game between this pair, the Pioneers beat UConn in a convincing 5-2 fashion. In that matchup, the Huskies lost five of the six singles matches but won two of the three doubles matches. UConn will want to have a better showing than that, but Sacred Heart senior Katsiaryna Starastsenka will be coming back to try and grab another win. She led the team in singles wins, going undefeated in conference play on her way to a 19-9 total singles record last season. They’ll be returning all six of their top singles performers, all of whom played in the last matchup with the Huskies. To ensure history doesn’t repeat itself, Connecticut’s singles players will need to step up against the tough Sacred Heart roster.
UConn Players to Watch
As always, junior Maria Constantinou will be the main threat for UConn. She started off her fall campaign going undefeated last weekend at the Quinnipiac Invite and will look to keep her great play going.
After bursting onto the scene last weekend, first year Victoria Matos will want to continue her fantastic run of play. Matos was the second of three Huskies to start their season off without losing a match, going 3-0 at the Quinnipiac Invite. All eyes will be on Matos to see if she can keep it up.
Olivia Wright was the only other Husky to not lose a match in the first weekend of play and has been a consistent part of the singles rotation since she transferred from Providence prior to her sophomore year. Her experience and ability are key assets to this Connecticut team and should be on full display this coming weekend.
What to Expect
At last year’s UConn invite, the Huskies went 12-5 in singles and 8-1 in doubles, leaving them with a grand total of 20-6. They’ll be happy with anything around that record but would obviously like to target as many wins as possible. With the talent on the team, there’s no reason the 20-win mark can’t be reached again for this invite.
UConn will play three games this weekend at Storrs: Friday, Sept. 15 vs. Bryant at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16 vs. Sacred Heart at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 17 vs. Wesleyan.